Delhi University holds quieter, but smoother elections (Lead)

September 4th, 2009 - 8:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party New Delhi, Sep 4 (IANS) Much of the usual hullabaloo was missing Friday as elections were held to the students union of Delhi University - one of India’s most prestigious varsities. But many called it “historic” what with more independent candidates and low key outfits, fewer noisy campaign vehicles and, above all, smooth polling.
The North Campus, which is the epicentre of political activities during Delhi University Students union polls (DUSU) polls, was almost quiet amid strict police vigilance.

Students began casting their vote soon after 8.30 a.m. at 50 designated polling centres and it continued till 12.30 in the afternoon. In evening colleges, it was conducted from 3-7 p.m.

Twenty-nine students were in the fray for four posts - president, vice president, secretary and joint secretary. Over 40,000 students from 54 colleges were eligible to vote.

“This year’s election was historic. There were few leaders from NSUI (National Student Union of India) and ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) and this opened up opportunities for independents and low key student outfits in the campus,” Amulya Nidhi, a postgraduate student of political science, told IANS.

Many mainstream student outfit leaders were unable to participate in the polls this time as they violated election norms stipulated by the Lyngdoh Committee.

“I am very happy that the university authorities and the Delhi High Court took a strong stance on violation of the poll code. A large portion of students don’t make noise and don’t want a hullabaloo. It’s a few with vested interest always make a noise,” added Amulya Nidhi, who studies in Ramjas College.

Some may say that the frenzy was missing this time but “many of us believe it’s good for the university. After casting my vote, I am feeling much happier this time,” he said.

Aditya Raj Kaul, another student in the north campus, said it’s a “great beginning”. “The money and muscle power must be curbed. Let’s see how long this trend continues. The Lyngdoh Committee suggestions on college elections was followed in a better way this time,” he said.

“I must say, this is historic and good for small student outfits. Constructive politics is good but when it comes down to other things, it hurts the varsity interest,” Kaul added.

Polls passed peacefully in the south campus as well. The road along the campus was closed to traffic. Students came to vote carrying handmade banners.

Vinita Mishra, a second year student in the campus, said: “Elections are one of the most awaited events in Delhi University. But this time, the usual enthusiasm and the eventful prelude were missing,” she said.

A police officer at the Maurice Nagar police station which has the jurisdiction over North Campus said: “The election went off peacefully. There was no untoward incident.”

Delhi High Court had dismissed the plea - of Deepak Negi of the NSUI, Rohit Chahal of the ABVP for the president’s post; Umesh Tomar (NSUI) for vice-president; Lalit Kumar (ABVP) for secretary and Ashok Khare (ABVP) and Rahul Mathur (NSUI) for joint secretary - to contest.

These six candidates were found spending more money than the fixed amount of Rs.5,000 each, using cars and organising rallies for their election campaigns which was against the recommendations made by a panel headed by former chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh.

Mathur, who was disqualified for the post of joint secretary from the NSUI panel, told IANS: “This year’s election was totally dull and impractical. You are asking us to fight an election with Rs.5,000 - it’s near impossible.”

“There are 54 colleges where you need to campaign and what are you going to do with this amount. We are not against the Lyngdoh Committee report completely but some provisions are too impractical,” he added.

ABVP and NSUI members said the disqualification of their leaders had given a chance to Leftist student outfits like the Students’ Federation of India. Besides independent candidates, Ambedkar Students Organisation of India (ASOI), a student outfit supported by the Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), was also in the fray.

The result of the poll will be declared Sunday.

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